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Archive for October, 2013

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Largest gig to date

You get used to travelling great distances to perform in front of handfuls of people in small pubs, which is what I was expecting at a gig I did this week in Hemel Hempstead.

But when I entered to venue, I was taken aback by the amount of people I saw. The place was absolutely packed and the promoter told me that 180 tickets had been sold. This was by far the largest audience I have performed in front of, excluding my two brief appearances at the 500-ish Comedy Store Gong show crowd this year and in 2006 for 3 minutes 30 seconds and 46 seconds respectively.

The demographic of audience boded well, as they can accurately be described as senior. The average of the room was probably mid-to-late 50s, which tend to be the best audiences. At least, they tend to the audiences who are most receptive to my material.

Although with so many people in quite a long room, I was concerned that the people sitting furthest away from the stage would feel a bit detached from it all and possibly talk amongst themselves.

As frequently happens, my concerns turned out to be unfounded and it was the people at the back who were actually the loudest laughers. It turned out to be a really nice gig and all the acts were warmly received.

And to prove that I live a glamorous, show-business lifestyle, this picture on the right was on what I like to call the ‘green table’. It wasn’t quite a green room. Yes, I am now officially an artist.

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Battling

In this past week, I have battled two very different but nonetheless challenging rooms.

The first gig was in Windsor, where I was opening. The audience were mostly middle-class and middle-aged, and they were hard work. It was difficult to get them going and there was an awkward atmosphere. They went for some of my stuff, but really didn’t go for other bits. Material that I can normally depend on didn’t raise much more than a chuckle or two, and I had to work really hard just to get that level of response.

The second gig was in Brixton on a Friday night, where there was a microphone and stage at one end of a very busy bar. Only about 15% of the people were initially listening to the comedy, but with persistence and no other real alternative, attention figures reached the dizzy heights of around 35%.

For my set, I decided the best tactic was to be as loud as possible, compromising any subtleties or nuances for brash volume. I like to call this the Langton Technique.

It was actually very enjoyable and in difficult circumstances I managed to extract a respectable level of laughs. It has actually made me think about using this approach in quieter gigs, because I think I perform better in this heightened state.

The reason I have taken almost an entire week to write this up is because my usual weekend writing spot was shunted in favour of a trip to Portsmouth. There was a small gathering of my group of friends I went to university with to mark the ten years since we started there.

On the train there, I passed through Havant, where this crazy comedy odyssey began.

The reunion was everything you would expect from a university reunion: lots of alcohol, then denying and accepting age.